Opened: April 22, 1998
Location: Africa – The entrance is located to the right of Kilimanjaro Safaris. You’ll pass Kilimanjaro’s FASTPASS return queue and then take a left.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning
Type: Self-guided walking tour, zoo exhibit
Similar To: Maharajah Jungle Trek
Scary Factor: Zero
When To Go: This is a difficult choice because Pangani can get crowded in the late morning and afternoon, but most people go to Animal Kingdom for the rides, which “should” be done first, early in the morning. Pangani has no line and it’s self-guided so you will always be able to get on the path, but it may be crowded, especially during peak and holiday seasons. If seeing the animals is more important than the rides and attractions, you will want to do Pangani early in the morning. If Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and the Safari are more important then you’ll want to save it for after those rides. If you can’t make it to Pangani in the early morning, the second best time is in the last hour of operation. Consider returning to Africa before you leave to walk Pangani and ride Kilimanjaro Safaris. My favorite time to visit is 3:35pm, which is right before the 3:45pm Parade. The Parade makes it difficult to get back to Africa and you should have the area virtually to yourself. Finish up by 4pm and you should be able to enter the line for Kilimanjaro Safaris before the Parade makes it to this area and the line gets much longer quickly.
Expect to Wait: No waits
Length: The Pangani Trail is a little less than a half mile long. Most visitors spend about 20 minutes moving through the trail and the various exhibits, but you can spend as much or as little time as you like.
What to Expect: The Pangani Trail is one of the two major “zoo-like” trail exhibits at the Animal Kingdom. Visitors walk along the path and enter various enclosures and exhibits that show off the animals in their native habitats. Expect to see hippopotamuses, meerkats, naked mole rats, gorillas, okapi (the only known relative of the giraffe), and an extensive number of rare African bird species. The paths are narrower than Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani is noticeably more congested for most of the day, thanks primarily to Kilimanjaro Safaris dropping off thousands of people in front of the entrance throughout the day.
Commentary: Both the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek are must-experience attractions at the Animal Kingdom. Many visitors will overlook them and focus on the rides and shows, but this is a mistake. You may have zoos with similar animals and exhibits near where you live, but they won’t have Disney’s budget or ability to theme an exhibit so extravagantly. Since you can ride most of the major rides before lunch or early afternoon, you should have plenty of time to walk the trails. You won’t regret it.